Higher-order factors of the big five in a multi-informant sample

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In a large community sample (N=490), the Big Five were not orthogonal when modeled as latent variables representing the shared variance of reports from 4 different informants. Additionally, the standard higher-order factor structure was present in latent space: Neuroticism (reversed), Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness formed one factor, labeled Stability, and Extraversion and Openness/Intellect formed a second factor, labeled Plasticity. Comparison of two instruments, the Big Five Inventory and the Mini-Markers, supported the hypotheses that single-adjective rating instruments are likely to yield lower interrater agreement than phrase rating instruments and that lower interrater agreement is associated with weaker correlations among the Big Five and a less coherent higher-order factor structure. In conclusion, an interpretation of the higher-order factors is discussed, including possible neurobiological substrates. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1151
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Big Five
  • Higher-order factors
  • Metatraits
  • Phrase rating instruments
  • Plasticity
  • Single-adjective rating instruments
  • Stability


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